KGUN 9 On Your SideNews


Former Wildcat and NFL player fights ALS

Posted at 10:53 PM, Mar 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-24 01:53:52-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A former Wildcat football player, who played on one of the program's best teams, is fighting ALS.

Warner Smith was the right guard for the well-known 1993 Wildcat team and he went on to play one season with the Indianapolis Colts in 1995.

Two years ago, Smith was diagnosed with ALS, a progressive, neurodegenerative disease. It stops the brain from sending signals to parts of the body to tell them what to do.

"I can stare at my foot and I swear it's moving, but it doesn't move," said Smith.

Right now, Smith's legs are the only part of his body feeling the effects of the disease. He needs leg braces, a walker and a scooter to get around. 

"I think it's tough because, as an athlete, you're always taught to out tough it, you can just work your way through it and just keep pushing it. And with this, I can't. If my leg doesn't want to work one day, it's just not going to work," said Smith. 

There is no cure for ALS. It is different for everyone, but the average life-expectancy is 2-5 years after diagnosis. 

With medical bills, modifications to his home and car, and trying to plan for his daughter's future, Smith is trying to financial fight ALS as well.

His friends have put together a huge benefit weekend June 24-26 at Starr Pass Resort, including a golf tournament, dinner, auction and a roast of Smith. 

Some of Smith's old teammates and coach Dick Tomey will be in attendance. 

You can find more information on how to buy tickets to the event here.